Tag Archives: Alps

Lactuca capensis

Botanical Name: Lactuca capensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca

Habitat:Lactuca capensis is native to S. Africa. It grows on lower mountain slopes, Lion’s Head to Constantia.

Description:
Lactuca capensis is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a light sandy loam.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring.
Edible Uses: Young plant – cooked.

Medicinal Uses :
Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactuca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+capensis

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Rubus argutus

Botanical Name : Rubus argutus
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species:R. argutus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Highbush Blackberry, Sawtooth blackberry or Tall blackberry

Habitat :Rubus argutus is native to Eastern N. America – Massachusetts to Virginia. It grows on dry or moist thickets and woodland margins.

Description:
Rubus argutus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in). It is an erect, arching, or trailing shrub in the Rose family (Rosaceae). Stems are usually erect to arching in open areas and arching to trailing or decumbent in shaded areas. Primocanes (first year stems) are angled, 1-3 m long. Prickles are hooked or straight, up to 8 mm long. Leaves are palmately compound, typically with 3, sometimes 5 leaflets. Leaflets are elliptic, oblong-oblanceolate, or ovate. Terminal leaflet is 8-13 cm long and 3-8 cm wide. Leaflets are hairless on upper surface with soft, long hairs on lower surface. Leaflet margin is coarsely toothed. Prickles and leaves on floricanes (second year stems) are similar to primocanes but smaller. Flowers are arranged in short racemes on pedicels 1.5-5.0 cm long. Petals are white, 13-20 mm long. Fruit is black when mature, adhering to receptacle.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. This species is cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses: …Fruit – raw or cooked. Variable in size and quality but generally with rather large and juicy drupelets. The pulpy fruit is up to 25mm long.
Medicinal Uses:

Antihaemorrhoidal; Antirheumatic; Astringent; Stimulant; Tonic.

The roots are antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, astringent, stimulant and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of venereal disease and as a wash in the treatment of piles. An infusion of the roots or leaves can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea and rheumatism.

Other Uses : Dye…..A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_argutus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+argutus

Rhododendron ferrugineum

Botanical Name : Rhododendron ferrugineum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species:R. ferrugineum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Alpenrose, Snow-rose, or Rusty-leaved alpenrose

Habitat :Rhododendron ferrugineum is native to Europe.It grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines on the mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Description:
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name. This is in contrast to Rhododendron hirsutum, which has no such brown colouring, has hairy edges to the leaves and grows over limestone. Where the two species co-occur (usually on soils of intermediate pH), the hybrid Rhododendron × intermedium may occur; as its name suggests, it is intermediate in form between the two parental species.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. This species grows better in the midlands and north Britain, disliking the hotter conditions in the south. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult

Medicinal Uses:
The flowers, leaves and the galls are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence.

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown as ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Some substances in this plant have shown herbicidal activity, though more research needs to be carried out

Known Hazards: The leaves and the galls are poisonous. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_ferrugineum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhododendron+ferrugineum

Duchesnea indica

Botanical Name : Duchesnea indica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Duchesnea
Species: D. indica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Duchesnea indica (sometimes called Potentilla indica), known commonly as mock strawberry, Gurbir, Indian strawberry or false strawberry

Habitat : Duchesnea indica is native to eastern and southern Asia, (E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. An occasional garden escape in Britain) but has been introduced to many other areas as an ornamental plant. It has been naturalized in many regions, including the southern United States, and is considered an invasive species in some regions. It is considered one of the most invasive plants on the island of Réunion. It grows in Shady places in woods, grassy slopes, ravines in low mountains, all over Japan.
Description:
Duchesnea indica is an evergreen Perennial plant growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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The leaves are trifoliate, roughly veined beneath, dark green, and often persisting through the winter, arising from short crowns. The plant spreads along creeping stolons, rooting and producing crowns at each node. The yellow flowers are produced in mid spring, then sporadically throughout the growing season. The aggregate accessory fruits are white or red, and entirely covered with red achenes, simple ovaries, each containing a single seed. They are edible, but they have very little flavor.

The fruit is similar to true strawberry, though this is apparently an independent evolution of a similar fruit type. It has yellow flowers, unlike the white or slightly pink flowers of true strawberries.

Cultivation :
Prefers a moist but well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are at their best in semi-shade, though they are not too fussy and can succeed in quite dense shade. They also grow well in a rock garden. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant but it can be invasive, spreading freely by means of runners. Plants are more or less evergreen, though they can be browned by severe frosts. Plants sometimes self-sow in British gardens.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 weeks or more at 15°c. A period of cold stratification may speed up germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners in spring or late summer. Very easy, they can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: …Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Fruit – raw. Dry and insipid. Certainly rather tasteless, but it is not dry. A flavour somewhat like a water melon according to some people, but this is possibly the product of a strained imagination.The fruit contains about 3.4% sugar, 1.5% protein, 1.6% ash. Vitamin C is 6.3mg per 100ml of juice. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter with the appearance and texture of a strawberry but very little flavour. A clump 2.5m² yields about 150g of fruit annually. Leaves – cooked
Medicinal Uses:
Anticoagulant; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Depurative; Febrifuge; Poultice; Skin.

The whole plant is anticoagulant, antiseptic, depurative and febrifuge. It can be used in decoction or the fresh leaves can be crushed and applied externally as a poultice. It is used in the treatment of boils and abscesses, weeping eczema, ringworm, stomatitis, laryngitis, acute tonsillitis, snake and insect bites and traumatic injuries. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of swellings. An infusion of the flowers is used to activate the blood circulation. The fruit is used to cure skin diseases. A decoction of the plant is used as a poultice for abscesses, boils, burns etc.

Other Uses :
A good ground cover plant, spreading quickly by means of runners. It is rather bare in winter though and should not be grown with small plants since it will drown them out. A good cover for bulbous plants.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_strawberry
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Duchesnea+indica

Sonchus alpinus

Botanical Name: Sonchus alpinus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Cicerbita
Species: C. Alpina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Cicerbita alpina, Alpine Sow-thistle or Alpine Blue-sow-thistle, Mountain sow- thistle

Habitat : Sonchus alpinus is native to upland and mountainous parts of Europe.It grows on many mountains of Europe (the Alps, the Pyrenees, the northern Apennines, the Scandinavian Peninsula, Scotland (where it is endangered and found in only four known locations), the Carpathians and the Urals. These plants can be found in alpine woods, besides streams, in rich-soil in hollows and in tall meadows, usually between 1,000 and 1,800 metres (3,300 and 5,900 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Sonchus alpinus on average reaches 80 centimetres (31 in) in height, with a minimum height of 50 cm (20 in) and a maximum height of 150 cm (59 in). The stem is erect and usually unbranched. It has glandular hairs and contains a white milky juice, a kind of latex. The alternate leaves are broad, triangular and clasping the stem, bluish-grey beneath, hairy along the veins and with toothed margins. The inflorescence is a panicle. Each composite flower is about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide and is set within a whorl of bracts. The individual blue-violet florets are tongue-like with a toothed, truncated tip, each having five stamens and a fused carpel. All the florets are ray florets; there are no disc florets. The seeds are clothed in unbranched hairs. The flowering period extends from June to September in the temperate northern hemisphere.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : It is a tall handsome plant with very large blue flowers, but also very rare in the islands.
Edible Uses:Sonchus alpinus has been used as a salad in Lapland, the young shoots being stripped of their skin and eaten raw, but Linnaeus informs us that it is somewhat bitter and unpalatable.

Constituents:
The edible shoots of Cicerbita alpina contain 8-O-Acetyl-15-beta-D-glucopyranosyllactucin, which causes the bitter taste of the vegetable, and caffeic acid derivatives chlorogenic acid, 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, caffeoyltartaric acid, and cichoric acid

Medicinal Uses: Culpepper considers that the Sow-Thistles possess great medicinal virtues, which lie chiefly in the milky juice. He tells us:
‘They are cooling and somewhat binding, and are very fit to cool a hot stomach and ease the pain thereof. . . . The milk that is taken from the stalks when they are broken, given in drink, is very beneficial to those that are short-winded and have a wheezing.’

He goes on to inform us, on the authority of Pliny, that they are efficacious against gravel, and that a decoction of the leaves and stalks is good for nursing mothers; that the juice or distilled water is good ‘for all inflammation, wheals and eruptions, also for haemorrhoids.’ Also that:
‘the juice is useful in deafness, either from accidental stoppage, gout or old age. Four spoonsful of the juice of the leaves, two of salad oil, and one teaspoonful of salt, shake the whole well together and put some on cotton dipped in this composition into the ears and you may reasonably expect a good degree of recovery.’

Again, that:
‘the juice boiled or thoroughly heated in a little oil of bitter almonds in the peel of a pomegranite and dropped into the ears is a sure remedy for deafness.’

Finally, he informs us that the juice ‘is wonderfully efficacious for women to wash their faces with to clear the skin and give it lustre.’

Another old herbalist also says:
‘The leaves are to be used fresh gathered; a strong infusion of them works by urine and opens obstructions. Some eat them in salads, but the infusion has more power.’

The whole plant has stiff spines on the leaf margin, and the seeds and roots are used in homoeopathic medicine.

The milky juice of all the Sow-Thistles is an excellent cosmetic. The leaves are said to cure hares of madness

Other Uses:
In Finland, this plant is known as “bear-hay” because the Eurasian brown bear feeds on it, as do elk and reindeer. People also sometimes make use of it and eat it raw or cooked in reindeer milk.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sowthi71.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicerbita_alpina